Keynote Speaker: Mike Paciello
Mike Paciello is Founder of WebABLE, a North Carolina-based, digital marketing & professional services company, dedicated to delivering news about the disability and accessibility market.
Starting at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1982, Mr. Paciello has served as an international leader, technologist and authority in the areas of emerging technology, accessibility, usability and electronic publishing. Mike is the previous Founder of The Paciello Group (TPG), a world-renown software accessibility consultancy acquired in 2017 by Vispero, a leader in assistive technology for the blind and visually-impaired. TPG provides professional services and products to hundreds of clients including Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce.Com, Pearson, Wells Fargo, SSA, IRS, GSA and the VA.
Mr. Paciello, along with several colleagues, formed the International Committee for Accessible Document Design (ICADD), the organization responsible for creating ICADD-22, the first-ever electronic publishing standard that produced Braille, large text and voice-ready publications from a single source file. ICADD-22 is recognized as a formalized segment of ISO 12083, the American Association of Publishers SGML standard for publishers.
Mike authored the first book on web accessibility and usability, “Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities” and, in 1997, Mr. Paciello received recognition from President William Clinton for his work in the creation of World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). He has served as an advisor to US Access Board and other various federal agencies since 1992.
On April 3rd, 2008, Mike and co-chair Jim Tobias, presented a historic series of internationally harmonized technical recommendations to bridge the gap between technology and people with disabilities. As a result of these recommendations, the US Access Board released a final rule that updates accessibility requirements covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 along with guidelines for telecommunications equipment subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934. These revised standards and guidelines were published in the Federal Register on January 18, 2017 and went into effect in January, 2018.
Mike was the recipient of the 2016 Knowbility Lifetime Achievement and the 2020 ICT Accessibility Testing Symposium Social Impact awards.
Christina Adams is a Digital Accessibility Software Engineer at Siteimprove and is a Certified Professional in Web Accessibility through the International Association of Accessibility Professionals. Christina’s work is focused on crafting impactful user experiences and is a champion of inclusive process improvements. As an accessibility subject matter expert she helps drive accessibility initiatives and provides educational and consultative services to our customers worldwide. With a deep technical understanding of the web alongside a passion for design and user experience Christina is helping to create a more inclusive and accessible web.
Kate DeForest is Web/Digital Content Coordinator for SUNY Oswego. She updates and maintains the university’s primary website and trains campus personnel on web and digital accessibility best practices. As a member and former chair of the Workgroup on Accessibility Practices, Kate has worked on a number of campus accessibility initiatives, including building Oswego’s Digital Accessibility website (www.oswego.edu/accessibility) and launching the 10-day Accessibility Challenge. Kate is a member of IAAP and a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC). She has given over 20 accessibility-related presentations at local, state, and national conferences, including Accessing Higher Ground, HighEdWeb, and numerous SUNY conferences.
With more than four decades of digital accessibility experience, Geoff Freed brings a big-picture perspective and an incredible depth of expertise to his work at Perkins Access. A recognized leader in the field, Geoff has contributed to recommendations and regulations across countless areas of accessibility over the years, from in-flight entertainment to information and communication technology for federal employees (Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act) to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
If you’ve ever used the captions on your favorite streaming service or an online video, it’s due in large part to Geoff’s work. Geoff played a pivotal role in advancing captioning and audio description technology, including the development of Timed Text Markup Language for online video captioning, which won a Science & Technology Emmy®.
As a member of the Perkins Access team, Geoff is passionate about sharing his knowledge with clients, always with the goal of empowering them to recognize and address accessibility issues on their own—and to fully appreciate the impact their efforts will have on people’s lives.
Corbb O’Connor thinks like an economist, writes like a journalist, and facilitates meetings like a party host. A hands-down nerd, Corbb taught himself web programming languages and Adobe Photoshop so he could build a resource hub for webmasters in 1998. Since then, he’s educated thousands about creating inclusive environments alongside others with disabilities in the United States, Canada, and Jamaica. He started a business-to-business communications firm, U.S. Bank’s accessibility initiative, a manual testing team, and now leads accessibility advocacy for Level Access. A Chicago native, licensed ham radio operator, and amateur paddle-boarder, he’s happiest on top of a horse penning cattle.
Karen Pellegrin is the Senior Program Manager for the State of Colorado’s Technology Accessibility Program (TAP) in the Governor’s Office of IT.
Before coming to the State, Karen served for over 7 years as the City and County of Denver’s digital accessibility coordinator and 10 years as senior web administrator. She has worked with over 75 government agencies and departments, as well as a number of non-profit organizations and small to large businesses in order to build and standardize accessibility processes, systems, guidelines, and training programs.
Today, Karen brings her passion, knowledge, and experience to building the next evolution of the TAP team and guiding Colorado’s state and local government organizations in fulfilling their accessibility goals.
Jessica Katz Plitt has been a Civil Rights Attorney with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education since 2004 based out of the San Francisco Regional office. Jessica investigates a broad range of civil rights issues and specializes in Section 504 and Title II disability discrimination with a current emphasis on website accessibility. Jessica is a member of OCR’s National Digital Access Team (NDAT). Prior to her work at OCR, Jessica was a Special Education Hearing Officer for the State of California.
Judy has been an attorney with the Office for Civil Rights for over 19 years. Currently she is the Co-Lead of OCR’s National Web Accessibility team. Before coming to OCR , she finished with a PhD in Educational Administration and her law degree. Part of her work experience also includes teaching in special education and development of on-line instruction. Her favorite part of her job is helping people serve students better and preventing problems before they happen.
Karey Jo Wise
Karey Jo “KJ” Wise is one of Pearson’s Senior Accessibility Engineers. She has a master’s degree from CSUN in Assistive Technology. Karey has a unique perspective in this field, as she is former teacher of the blind and visually impaired.